Skip to main content
By Thomas Lux

which regenerate their tails

and also eat only the tails of other electric eels,

presumably smaller, who, in turn, eat … 

Without consulting an ichthyologist — eels

are fish — I defer to biology’s genius.

I know little of their numbers

and habitat, other than they are river dwellers.

Guess which river. I have only a note,

a note taken in reading

or fever — I can’t tell, from my handwriting, which. All

I know is it seems

sensible, sustainable: no fish dies,

nobody ever gets so hungry he bites off more

than a tail; the sting, the trauma

keeps the bitten fish lean and alert.

The need to hide while regrowing a tail teaches guile.

They’ll eat smaller tails for a while.

These eels, these eels themselves are odes!


  • Nature

Poet Bio

Thomas Lux
Born in Northampton, Massachusetts, Thomas Lux’s poetry often deals with life’s tragedies, but usually employs an ironic humor. He published numerous books of poetry including Split Horizon, which won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Lux taught at Sarah Lawrence College. See More By This Poet

More By This Poet

More Poems about Nature

Browse poems about Nature